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Biomarker Testing

Hello everyone!

One of the focus areas on the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s agenda for the 2023-2024 year is biomarker testing.

What is biomarker testing?

Biomarker testing is a test where your doctor takes a sample of your cells (sometimes from a tumor, sometimes from blood or other biospecimen) and sends it to a lab to look for various markers that can help match patients with the most effective treatment for their cancer. Biomarker testing analyzes genes, proteins and tumor markers that are specific to the cancer patient. Since everyone’s cancer diagnosis is associated with a unique combination of genetic changes, biomarker testing can help create an individualized treatment plan for each person.

Biomarker testing can also be used for patients with other diseases and conditions to help more accurately diagnose their condition or match them with the right treatment at the right time.

Why is biomarker testing important?

Biomarker testing is an essential step to accessing precision medicine. The information we get from biomarker testing can be used to prescribe targeted therapies specifically tailored to the types of cancer cells within a particular patient. These targeted therapies can directly attack the cancer, improving survivorship and quality of life. Biomarker testing can also show if the cancer is more likely to grow, what cancer treatments might be helpful, and signs that the cancer might be returning.

Biomarker testing isn’t just for cancer.

Biomarker testing doesn’t just help cancer patients. This technology is being used or in research to address cardiology, rheumatology, neurology, infectious, respiratory, and autoimmune diseases. Biomarker testing can help diagnose and inform treatment for a multitude of diseases, improving the quality of life for many patients. 

What is ACS CAN asking for?

As remarkable as biomarker testing is, it’s unfortunately out of reach for many patients who could benefit, in part because insurance coverage is not keeping pace with the science. Nobody should have to choose between live-saving testing or being able to pay rent or buy groceries. Therefore, ACS CAN is asking to expand insurance coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing, so that patients will have more equitable access to the latest advances.

How can you get involved?

By clicking this link and filling out the form, you can sign a petition, urging your lawmakers to help improve access to biomarker testing. Learn more at fightcancer.org/biomarkers.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. We are improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the only organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

Read more about us.

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